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(en) Israel-Palestine, Media, [mashacamp] FROM HAGUE TO MAS'HA by Tanya Reinhart*

From Worker <a-infos-en@ainfos.ca>
Date Thu, 15 Jul 2004 20:33:46 +0200 (CEST)

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The International Court of Justice has determined that Israel “has the right,
and indeed the duty, to…protect the life of its citizens” but that “the
measures taken are bound nonetheless to remain in conformity with applicable
international law.” The Court found the present route of the separation fence
or wall to be a serious and egregious violation of international law.
In an interview given last weekend, Israeli Chief of Staff Moshe (Bogie)
Ya’alon contested the applicability of international law. Such a system
was appropriate for the conditions of World War II, he declared, but not
for the present war on terror. Apparently, as Ya’alon envisions it, in
this war the armed forces are bound only by their own law. Indeed, a
battle is being waged in the world today over the status of
international law. While the US and Israel are agitating for its
nullification, the rest of the world understands that international law,
as the framework that governs the conduct of states, is a necessary
apparatus for the preservation of society. Even if it does not always
function perfectly, without international law there is a danger that
large segments of the human race will simply be wiped out, as we Jews
learned through our own terrible experience during World War II.

The International Court’s ruling lists the numerous articles of the
Fourth Geneva Convention that the present route of the barrier violates,
noting that “there is also a risk of further alterations to the
demographic composition of the Occupied Palestinian Territory resulting
from…the departure of Palestinian populations from certain areas”
(paragraph 122). In simpler language, the Court is warning of transfer.

The word “transfer” evokes the collective memory of trucks arriving in
the middle of the night to transport Palestinian villagers across the
border, which happened in a number of places in 1948. But transfer on
that model is not possible in today’s world. Now transfer must be
accomplished more slowly and surreptitiously. The current barrier cuts
off 400,000 Palestinians from their source of livelihood and imprisons
them in isolated enclaves. With no means of subsistence, they will be
forced to leave those enclaves over the next few years to seek
employment at the peripheries of West Bank cities and towns. In this
way, sections of the West Bank that border on Israel will be “cleansed”
of Palestinians. In Qalqilya and Tul Karm, where the fence was
completed a year ago, it is already happening. It would have been
possible to build the fence on the Israeli side of Qalqilya, as the
original plan proposed. That is a much shorter route, and would have
been easier to guard and protect than the present line, which surrounds
Qalqilya on all sides and cuts through West Bank territory. But the
builders of the barrier along its present route were guided not by
security considerations but rather by the old vision of redeeming the
land and purifying it of Arabs. The only difference is that today it is
possible to hide this behind talk of a war on terror.

A year ago, the wall extended from Tul Karm and Qalqilya to the town of
Mas’ha, near the Jewish settlement of Elkana. Like others before them,
the people of Mas’ha were expected to sit and watch as their olive
groves their source of income for centuries were transferred to the
Israeli side of the wall. But the people of Mas’ha united to show that
another way is possible. They erected protest tents next to the route of
the bulldozers and called upon Israelis to join them. For months,
Israelis and Palestinians sat together in the path of the wall that was
being built day by day. Nazeeh Shalaby, a farmer from Mas’ha who lost
all his land, was the moving spirit in the camp. “Until you arrived,” he
told me this week, “I didn’t have any idea that there were Israelis who
want to live with us in peace.”

The protest camp at Mas’ha didn’t succeed in stopping the wall. The
encampment was evacuated and the army used live ammunition on the
Israeli protestors who climbed and shook the fence. Gil Na’amati of
Kibbutz Re’im lost there his knee. But now the International Court has
ruled that Israel must immediately dismantle the sections of the wall
that have been built inside the West Bank and move them to the Green
Line. This should begin at once with the dismantling of the wall at Mas’ha.

From: Tanya reinhart <reinhart-A-post.tau.ac.il>
To: mashacamp@yahoogroups.com
* [Ed. Note: Tanya Reinhardt is an academian
that have a column in the Israeli main daily Yediot Aharonot....
and is also an anarchist activist involved in the struggle
against the wall.]

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